Earlier this month, Australia’s outgoing Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews told ABC radio that land clearing is not the biggest threat to Australia’s wildlife. His claim caused a stir among Australia’s biodiversity scientists and conservation professionals, who have plenty of evidence to the contrary.
The ecologist Jared Diamond has described an “evil quartet” of threatening processes that drive species to extinction: habitat destruction; overhunting (or overexploitation); the presence of introduced species; and chains of linked ecological changes, including co-extinctions.
In modern times we can add two more to this list. The first is catastrophic disease outbreaks, such as the chytrid fungus that has been instrumental in the catastrophic decline or extinction of almost 200 frog species, or the facial tumour disease that still threatens to wipe out Tasmanian devils in the wild.
The second is human-induced climate change, which appears to have caused one extinction in Australian Territories and is predicted to result in many more.
So the evil quartet has now become an evil sextet. It sounds ugly because it is. But does habitat loss through land clearing still top the list? The answer, in short, is yes.Read more
Tree clearing is out of control in Queensland. Since 2013 one million hectares has been cleared or notified to be cleared. That's like lining up 1,200 bulldozers side by side and driving them from Brisbane to Cairns.
We need your help to end this destructive process. Our politicians need to hear that destroying trees to extinction — and threatening the wildlife that depends on trees — is not right. They must act to introduce strong tree clearing laws in this state.
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